For this assignment, I want you to think creatively about Erving Goffman’s article “On Face Work” and apply it to a possible social situation.
First, create a social situation or scenario in which the participants are actively engaged in the “face-work” that Goffman talks about. For example, imagine a job interview where things aren’t going so well and the interviewer and interviewee are trying to make the best of things, or there are a number of people at a party and someone suddenly spills his or her food or drink on another person and the others try and minimize the situation. Or you can think of an example where people try to “score points” on one another through verbal actions (p. 233) such as a politician in a news conference.
In your response, you will need to identify the participants, and then give some specific examples of things that the various people might say to either make the situation better or worse (remember, it isn’t just the content of what people are saying, but other things like timing, manner, body language, etc.). Identify if the scenario you created is an example of “basic face-work,” “aggressive face-work,” or “cooperative face-work”.
After your description, you need to offer a brief analysis of the scenario. How does it illustrate Goffman’s basic principles?
Have fun with this assignment. Read the article, and then think about possible situations that illustrate the points that Goffman makes.